Why is the University of Luxembourg an attractive destination
for exchange students from the US?
Whether you aspire to a career in academia, industry or government, the experience of immersion
in a foreign culture and an international network of contacts is an asset. This document provides
an overview of Luxembourg, its University, and selected teaching and research programs. The
focus is on the merits of the University of Luxembourg as a destination for students enrolled at an
American University who would like to study for some time abroad. All programs presented in this
document were selected on the basis that they are partially or entirely taught in English, and that
answers in English are accepted in the classroom and in exams.
The document has the following sections:
1. Luxembourg .................................................................................................................... 2
2. The University of Luxembourg ...................................................................................... 2
3. Economics and Finance................................................................................................. 3
4. European Law ................................................................................................................. 5
5. Learning, Languages, and Psychology ........................................................................ 6
6. Spatial Development and Analysis ............................................................................... 8
7. Information and Computer Science .............................................................................. 9
8. Systems Biology ........................................................................................................... 10
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is a small tri-lingual country of 480,000 inhabitants that is
situated in the heart of Europe, but that has a distinctive and strong national culture. Luxembourg
city and its surroundings, has been a settlement for over 2000 years, and UNESCO declared a
part of it a world heritage site; it features a Roman aqua-duct and catacombs. One visitor from the
US summed a walk through the capital up as ‘this is better than Disney’. Since the 1950’s
Luxembourg played a key role in the process of European Unification. It is the birth place of
Robert Schumann, one of the founding fathers of the European Union, and most of the main
European Institutions such as the European Commission, the European Court of Justice, the
European Parliament, and the European Investment Bank have a seat in Luxembourg.
Luxembourg is a wealthy country, with a high quality of life – a typical example of a European
welfare state. Due to favorable tax and banking legislation it is an important financial center with
representatives of most major European and global players, including the Bank of New York.
Thus, Luxembourg offers attractive employment opportunities. Due to the European Institutions
and the many banks, the population of Luxembourg city is international, cosmopolitan, and open.
It is situated just two hours on the train from Paris, Brussels, Strasbourg, and Cologne – an ideal
base from which to explore its larger neighbors and the rest of Europe!
2. The University of Luxembourg
The University of Luxembourg (UL) is a young and dynamic institution, which was founded in
2003. The university buildings are located in or close to Luxembourg city and are easily
accessible by public and private transport. The University organizes free access for students to
concerts, theatres, and sightseeing tours including to Brussels, and to the EU institutions. The
University is small and personable, and aims to stay small. In 2007 there were about 150 faculty,
and 500 practitioners teaching at UL, and just over 4000 students. Courses at the Master level
usually have maximal class sizes of 15 to 25 students. The academic year is split into two
semesters – the 1st semester from mid-September until mid-December (the exams take place in
January); and the second semester from February until June (the exams take place in June).
Luxembourg, and the UL in particular, offer a ‘safe haven’ for English-speaking students to explore
continental Europe and to learn a foreign language. Perhaps most importantly, the University goal
is to maintain a low student to faculty ration, to ensure close contacts between students and their
teachers. The tutorial system, uncommon in continental Europe, allows for further personal
supervision and support on all questions of academic or personal nature.
Another attractive distinction of the UL from other European Universities is that it has three official
languages, rather than just one: French, German, or English. Teaching in three languages, the
flexibility of most faculty to accept English answers both in the classroom and in exams, regardless
of the course language, and a good language learning support system together offer an
exceptional terrain for conquering French or German as a working language. We also offer
language courses to support students studying in a foreign language. The student and the faculty
bodies are highly international (85 and 26 nationalities, respectively). A further distinctive feature
is that due to a legal mobility requirement all students at undergraduate level have to study a
semester abroad – hence there is plenty of experience on how to make the most of student
exchanges shared between students, faculty, and the administration.
Graduates from abroad will find of interest that the UL is a research-based institution with a strong
connection between research and teaching. Faculty is frequently involved in EU cooperative
projects, opening a window for the engaged student to networks of European and international
cooperation. There are three faculties: the Faculty for Law, Economics and Finance; the Faculty
of Letters, Social Science, Arts, and Education Science, and the Faculty of Science, Technology
The following sections outline study programs, which draw together the strengths of the country,
the distinctive features of the University, and the diverse staff and student bodies that make up UL.
3. Economics and Finance
Research and teaching in economics and finance benefit from Luxembourg’s position as a strong
financial centre in Europe: most international banks have a branch in the capital. This offers ideal
grounds for exchange students to enjoy a semester of teaching with strong contributions from
practitioners who can describe the workings of European financial markets; moreover, internship
Research in economics and finance at the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance focuses on a
broad range of economic and financial areas. In finance, research interests include asset pricing,
risk management, financial econometrics, law and finance, investment performance evaluation,
international financial integration and exchange rate markets. Research in economics focuses on
regional economics, integration, spatial economics, migration and applied micro-econometrics.
The size of the academic and scientific staff in economics and finance is quickly increasing and
reflects the strong commitment of the university in these areas.
Bachelor in Economics and Management
The Bachelor in Economics and Management provides a basic knowledge of the theoretical
foundations and methods of economics and management. The Bachelor provides a suitable basis
for advanced studies, or professional careers in banking or management at large in the public or
private sector. The program is also suitable for students of related disciplines including political
science, law, history, and finance in order to open up new perspectives on modern economics that
governs much of our daily lives. With this aim, the fifth semester includes courses specializing in
corporate and banking law and accounting practices. The sixth semester offers courses relating to
public administration including environmental economics and an initiation to the field of finance.
Courses are in French and English, and a good proportion of text books and course materials are
available in English, but some basic comprehension of French and an interest in improving French
language skills is recommended. In exams, students may answer in the one of the three official
languages of the UL they feel most comfortable in. For more information please contact the study
Bachelor in Management
The Bachelor in Management is tailored more towards the formation of practitioners ready to
launch themselves in a career in banking, insurance, trusts, accounting, or corporate management
at the end of their degree. Semesters four and five offer choices for specialization in management
pertaining to insurance, banking, or corporations. The program is designed around a set of
complementary courses from academics and practitioners who offer unique insights on
Luxembourg and European practice. Semester six offers internship opportunities, together with a
guided analysis of the experience in form of writing and defending a report. Teaching is in English,
German and French; English predominates in the last two semesters, and English answers are
accepted in all exams. For more information please contact the study director
Master in Financial Economics
The Masters in Financial Economics is suited for all who aspire to a career in finance, banking or
the insurance sector, as well as for students interested in further research towards a Ph.D. The
courses are designed for students with a bachelor degree in economics and/or management.
Faculty selects applicants largely based on their prior knowledge of economics. Over half of the
classes are in English, but some basic comprehension of French and an interest in improving
French language skills is recommended. In exams, students may answer in the one of the three
official languages they feel most comfortable in. This two-year program in Financial Economics
offers a unique combination theory and practice: the first set of courses provide a solid foundation
of the theory underlying financial microeconomics, financial macroeconomics and econometrics,
which then help to gain a deeper understanding of applied finance in courses focusing on tools
and practices for decision-making under uncertainty. Insights gained are relevant to all areas of
finance, banking and insurance.
The program will include seminars given by experts of the most active banks in Luxembourg such
as Dexia RBC and Caisse d’Epargne. Those seminars focus on very specific and practical
contemporary issues in finance. The second year of the Master also allows student either to do a
master thesis on a more academic issue or to undertake a 3 to 6 month stage in one of the
financial institutions of Luxembourg. Further details on the program can be found at
Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation
This program was developed jointly by the UL and the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, in
order to strengthen the links between the academic and business worlds. The setting of
Luxembourg, a small, but at the same time very open and international place is ideal for
generating and combining new ideas, and creative experiments with daily practical realities of
business life, for successful new businesses to emerge. The one-year program is offered to
students with backgrounds in traditional management related areas, as well as in the humanities,
natural science. Diversity is viewed a strength. The main language is English. Teaching is largely
case-based, with internationally renowned faculty leading discussion son managerial implications
of latest academic research, focusing on diverse approaches to writing business plans and
problem-solving. Other teaching blocks include marketing, finance, individual skills (such as
presentation and negotiation), and a practical work project in a firm that leads to e a Master
Thesis. Applicants will be selected based on their CV. Further information can be found at
http://fdef.uni.lu/index.php/fdef/entrepreneurs_innovation or by contacting Nicolas.Jonard@uni.lu
4. European Law
Research and teaching at the law department focuses on European, transnational, and
comparative law. Research and teaching thrives on the proximity of the European Court of Justice
(ECJ), the Court of First Instance (CFI), the European Court of Auditors (ECA), the European
Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF), and Luxembourg’s many
international banks. The law faculty is international, and also engages renowned experts from
academia and practitioners from leading international banks and law firms to teach in their
courses. Several of the twenty seven judges (one for each Member State) and eight advocates-
general of the European Court of Justice, who in their role of interpreting EU law on contentious
points play an analogous role to the judges of the Supreme Court in the US, are actively involved
in teaching in courses at our University. Teaching is in English and French, and relies on state-of-
the –art interactive teaching methods. Possibilities to organize internships at the end of a semester
can be explored upon request.
Master in European Law
The Masters in European Law also provides options to specialize in European Litigation, Banking
and Financial Law, or Criminal Law. Following courses on European Litigation, students will be
exposed to litigation procedures in various policy fields. Courses on European Banking and
Financial Law and European Criminal Law offer a multi-disciplinary perspective on the intersection
of economics and law. Courses address European and transnational cooperation in criminal
matters, protection of financial interest of the European Community, white collar crime, financial
fraud, money laundering, counterfeit, cyber crime and customs fraud. The different courses are
organized in modules, which can be combined flexibly.
The areas for possible specialization in the Master Program on European Law also reflect the
strong areas of research in the Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance. For more information,
please see http://fdef.uni.lu/index.php/fdef/droit/master
5. Learning, Languages, and Psychology
Multi-lingual and multi-cultural modern societies require new expertise in areas such as
communication, education and human resource management. Both the Bachelor program in
Educational Sciences and the Master in Learning and Development in Multilingual and
Multicultural Contexts (MA multi-LEARN) program challenge learning and teaching from diversity
within societies. The Luxembourg setting provides an ideal context to study learning and
development in situations of linguistic and cultural diversity.
The Bachelor in Educational Sciences
The program strives to develop competences for the teaching profession. The course encourages
and thrives on the participation of students with prior qualifications from a wide range of
disciplines. The courses are multi-lingual, and the teaching-language can be adapted to the need
of the students. Classroom interventions and any other input from students, including exams, can
be brought in any of the four official languages of the program (English, French, German, and
Luxembourgish). The English language is widely spread across the program activities. However,
prior basic knowledge of and an interest in deeper acquisition of a second language is
The program deploys a research-oriented curriculum about learning and development and places
strong emphasis on collaborative inquiry projects to develop the ability to analyse learning
processes in context. Research methodologies are encouraging teacher students to act in an
investigative or problem-solving way and to base their decisions on research-driven and rational
argumentations. The course has four main objectives:
Learning how to learn: Developing teachers who act as experts on learning is tackled by co-
constructing theoretical concepts to analyze one’s own and other’s learning.
Developing in a community of learners: students participate in various communities that draw on
material, technological, conceptual, and social resources across boundaries, i.e. learning in
transdisciplinary modules across academic disciplines, interacting through multimodal media
across semiotic domains and learning-for-teaching across different educational contexts.
Being a responsible actor and author: students are accountable for their own development. Their
“voices” are encouraged through authentic individual and collective productions.
Growing and developing: learners engage in a developmental process where they are allowed to
work on their own concerns and projects. The creation, documentation, reflection and evaluation
of personal and joint initiatives, as well as the adoption of a critical stance towards one’s own
practice is encouraged and supported by academic staff and in a tutorial system.
For further information please contact Prof. Dr. Charles Max or Erik Lautenschlager (tel.: +352
4666449536); web: http//bpse.uni.lu; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Masters on Learning and Development in Multi-lingual and Multi-cultural Contexts
This Masters program prepares for a Ph.D. in education and (inter-)disciplinary fields related to
linguistic and cultural diversity, learning, and human development. It also provides a valuable asset
for careers in the public and private sectors relating to diversity management, vocational training,
the teaching profession, exchange programs, multimedia publishing, group-oriented marketing and
advertising. Apart from English, some prior knowledge and interest in deepening French or
German is required. The MA multi-LEARN provides you with a setting helping you to improve your
language skills in terms of scientific writing, presentations, and working in, on and with multilingual
The program combines a case-based study approach with a trans-disciplinary exploration of four
Activity & Development: the individual development through activities and social interactions within
changing cultural contexts.
Language, Learning, Literacy: the development of language(s), pluri-lingualism and literacy.
Media, Interaction, Design: the role and organization of media (e.g., Information and
Communication Technology) and mediation (e.g., design) in processes of learning and
Discourse, Identity, Politics: the interplay of identity, discourse and the politics of language and
education. Students can select to specialize in one of these domains. Courses and data-based
seminars that focus on problem-solving are combined with training on tools for organizing learning
experiences (e.g. electronic platforms), organizing information (e.g. references and sources), and
analyzing and exploiting developmental data as diverse and dynamic as multilingual websites,
VJing events or interactional processes for research purposes beyond the individual MA work. A
mentoring system and interships within private and public cooperating local and international
partners are key-element to the successful development of the students. Furthermore, the
program offers opportunities for comparing diverse approaches to analyzing learning and
development through study trips to France, Germany and the UK. The distinctive organization and
tri-lingual nature of the program open a unique window to understanding the European scientific
landscape from three nationally and discursively different accounts. The MA multi-LEARN is
grounded in and contributes to research work accomplished within the Unit for Sociocultural
Research on Learning and Development of the UL and the corresponding PhD-programme. MA
work is constantly linked with research projects, e.g., inquiring discourse dimensions of science
learning, developmental data-bases and leadership development from diversity. Detailed
information on the program (organization & content) and its recent activities is available through
the MA multi-LEARN website:
http://www.uni.lu/formations/flshase/master_academique_multi_learn, or by contacting the
scientific director of the program Ass.-Prof. Dr. Gudrun Ziegler Gudrun.Ziegler@uni.lu .
Masters in Psychology: Evaluation and Assessment
At the UL, the focus of research and teaching in psychology is on educational measurement and
applied cognitive science. In the age of life long learning the need for reliable approaches to
evaluate learning abilities, professional competences and personality profiles is becoming ever
more pressing. The Master in Psychology: Evaluation and Assessment provides students with the
theoretical and methodological basis for the development and implementation of scientific
assessment tools; the processing and interpretation of collected data; and the presentation of such
analyses of diverse target groups. Courses are taught in two languages: French and English. An
in-depth knowledge of French is required, as, depending on the student body, the majority of
classes are usually held in French. Possibilities for internship at the end of the semester could be
explored upon request.
Courses provide the theoretical basis for assessing cognitive abilities, professional competence,
social and emotional competences, and personality diagnostics. Cross-cultural differences in
approaches to assessment and evaluation and cross cultural differences in evaluation results
using the same methods on different cultural groups are recurring questions that arise within
several courses. Courses explore on theories on scoring and models for behavioural analysis.
Measurement tools including tests, questionnaires, computer-assisted testing, and qualitative
evaluation methods are discussed. Courses on statistics introduce the use of multivariate models
and hierarchical linear models for testing. For enrolment in the courses, prior undergraduate
degrees in psychology, cognitive science or education science are helpful.
The corresponding research unit of the University of Luxembourg has 20 researchers. Its main
objective is to contribute to the production of new scientific results in the domain of cognitive
science and to apply these new (or already existing) results to the domain of education and
learning, mainly through the construction and use of new assessment or learning tools. Current
research projects in the domain of educational measurement seek for the assessment of basic
learning processes at different levels across the lifespan (e.g. reading and listening
comprehension, mathematical problem solving, scientific literacy, interaction between social and
cognitive competencies evaluated in populations of children, adolescents and adults). Some areas
which may be suitable for exploring student-driven collaborative research include development,
application and evaluation of quantitative methods in organizational psychology, and structural and
functional neuro-image analysis and measurement. For more information please see
6. Spatial Development and Analysis
The Master in Spatial Development and Analysis aims at preparing students for the increasing
demand for consistent spatial analysis and development in the context of setting sustainable
development goals. The program benefits from vivid exchange through guest lectures and
internship opportunities with closely located key institutions including the of European Institutions
such as EUROSTAT, the European Investment Bank, and the Co-ordination Unit of the European
Spatial Planning and Observation Network. Courses allow a high degree of interaction due to
small class sizes (a maximum of 25 students will be selected). The course provides training that is
relevant for subsequent occupations in organizations including public administrations and planning
agencies, consulting firms, cross-border institutions, chambers and associations, and demographic
and economic observatories. Students in regional economics, environmental sciences, sociology,
human geography are encouraged to apply. For further information please consult the website
www.spatial.uni.lu, or e-mail email@example.com, or phone +352 4666446327.
7. Information and Computer Science
The research and teaching activities in the area of information and computer science at UL are
shaped in close collaboration with the public and private sectors, in which interests in finance and
telecommunications industries stand out. The major fields of research are: Advanced Software
Systems, Communicative Systems, Intelligent and Adaptive Systems, and Security and Trust. The
notions of Security, Trust and Reliability are part of the strategic priorities of the University of
Luxembourg and are considered as transversal to the four fields of interest.
Bachelor in Computer Science
This Bachelor is completed in six semesters. Undergraduate exchange students from the US
could join the 5th or 6th semester which are entirely taught in English. Both semesters offer four
alternative specialization options that prepare for the job market and one option that is an ideal
ground for continued study. The courses are designed with a view to key job market needs
including in the service and data processing companies, public administration, consultancy,
financial service firms. The program’s sixth semester serves to prepare a Bachelor thesis, which
can be either completed as part of an internship in a firm, or within a research group of the UL.
For further information, please consult the website http://wiki.uni.lu/bpinfo or contact
Master on Information and Computer Science
The Master Program thrives on a close link between research and teaching. There are five
possible areas of specialization:
In the area of Advanced Software Systems, research and teaching is concerned with the stepwise
lifecycle development of modern software-intensive distributed systems. These are typically
embedded in and interact with highly dynamic technical environments. The ultimate aim is to
enable the development of reliable software product lines based on model driven engineering and
automated verification and validation tools. Areas of interest shared with researchers at UIUC
include analysis and design patterns in software engineering.
The area of Communicative Systems comprises both work on ‘information transfer’ and
‘communicative systems’. Information transfer stands for the transmission of information over
potentially complex channels. We use models based on information theory and stochastics.
Communicative Systems focuses on the modeling and simulation of new generation of networks
(ad-hoc, sensor networks and hybrids), the development of reliable protocols and middleware.
One focus is on prerequisites for the creation of reliable heterogenous networks constituted of
different network types including static, mobile, ad-hoc, peer-to-peer or grid.
Research and teaching on Intelligent and Adaptive Systems focuses on approaches to deal with
complex and dynamic environments given limited resources and incomplete or uncertain
knowledge. We investigate the theoretical foundations and the algorithmic realization of systems
performing complex problem solving with a high degree of autonomy (intelligent), and exploiting
learning to deal with opaque and changing contexts (adaptive). The major areas of interest are
evolutionary computing, data and text mining, knowledge representation and uncertain inference.
Areas of common interest with UIUC include genetic algorithms using meta-heuristics, and the use
of software actor-agent models.
The classic concept of Security and Trust focuses on maintaining confidentiality and integrity of
messages largely by using ciphers and based on signatures. However, in open communication
systems additional threats appear as attacks may hinder the functionality of a system, for example
by unwanted restrictions of access to published information or services, or they may lead to the
complete take-over of a system by an attacker. Reformulating the concept of security in the
advent of intelligent attacks requires addressing not only the protection goals of confidentiality,
integrity, availability and accountability, but also better taking into account the concept of Trust.
Trust (or, symmetrically, distrust) is a particular level of the subjective probability with which an
agent assesses that another agent or group of agents will perform a particular action, both before
he can monitor such action (or independently or his capacity ever to be able to monitor it) and in a
context in which it affects his own action. [Gambetta] Trust modeling and management is achieved
through various facets such as multi-agent systems, logic, optimization of strategies, game theory,
There is also the possibility to specialize in Bioinformatics for systems biology (see below).
For more information please contact Pascal.Bouvry@uni.lu for research matters or
Christoph.Schommer@uni.lu for educational aspects.
8. Systems Biology
The availability of entire sequences of genomes of organisms provides the basis for better
understanding the links between molecular- and physiological processes and environmental
factors, rather than just studying each of these aspects in isolation. At the UL, one main focus of
research and teaching activities is to investigate major human diseases such as cancer,
atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s in such a ‘Systems Biology-based approach.
This involves using and integrating data from the complementary ‘omics’ approaches: genomics,
transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics and physiomics.
The students enrolled in the Master in Systems Biology will learn to think at the ‘systems level’ and
understand and be able to apply all related technologies. Gaining familiarity with bioinformatics
tools to integrate the huge data sets generated with each technique – at each of the ‘omics’ levels
is a key aspect of the program. Students will spend at least 45% of their time doing practical work
in wet or computer laboratories. For specialized technologies, the UL is working with public
partner institutions in Luxembourg and France, such as the CRP-Santé for micro-arrays, the CRP-
Gabriel Lippmann for the proteomics, and the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular
Biology in Strasbourg for the Mouse Clinic, will be involved.
The program prepares students for further research in academia or for a career industry or
government. The program is designed for a maximum of 18 students per year. All courses are in
English. The curriculum includes introductory courses on molecular biology and biochemistry,
general courses such as on patenting and research in the private sector, and specialized courses
on different aspects of systems biology.
For more information please contact: Carsten.Carlberg@uni.lu or see